[UPDATED] What we asked UST about Corona’s thesis

Rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines – In its statement, the University of Santo Tomas said it was “at a loss on how to respond to ‘online journalism’.”

It took the university 6 months to come up with this response, after receiving in June 2011 the first of over a dozen communications from Newsbreak regarding Chief Justice Renato Corona’s dissertation.

Below is the exchange of letters and emails between Purple Romero and various officials of the University of Santo Tomas from June to December 2011 in relation to the story on Chief Justice Corona’s dissertation.

Romero is the Newsbreak researcher who worked with Marites Dañguilan Vitug on the Corona story, which Rappler published on December 22, 2011. She is now a reporter for Rappler.

Newsbreak letters to UST re: Corona dissertation

 

AUGUST 2011

2011-08-04
Purple S. Romero
        
Good day. I’m conducting research for a book on the judiciary. In line with this, I would like to ask if the UST Library has a copy of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s thesis entitled “To Every One His Due: The Philippine Judiciary at the Forefront of Promoting Environmental Justice.” If yes, may we access it for research purposes? Thanks and we look forward to your response.

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From: Jonas T. Sahagun
Date: 2011/8/16
Subject:
To: purple.romero

Dear Ms. Romero:

We are sorry to inform you that the dissertation of Chief Justice Renato Corona is not yet available at the library. If you are interested, we will email you as soon as a copy is forwarded to us by the UST Graduate School. Also, an article based on his dissertation is available on the latest issue of the Ad Veritatem research journal.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Jonas T. Sahagun, Law Librarian
 

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OCTOBER 2011


2011/10/3 Michaella Lagniton

Good morning Ms. Purple,

I would just like to follow-up on the questionnaire for A/Prof. Fontanilla and Dr. Sison.

Many thanks!

Sincerely,

Micha

Michaella O. Lagniton
Media and Events Coordinator
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS
Office of Public Affairs
Ground Floor, UST Main Building,
Espana, Manila

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From: purple romero
To: Michaella Lagniton
Sent: Monday, October 3, 2011 5:25 PM
Subject: Re: Questionnaire Follow-Up

Dear Ms. Lagniton,

Good day. Here are our questions for the interview:

1. What are the guidelines of the University of Sto. Tomas graduate school with regard to thesis development?

2. What forms of thesis are allowed for submission by the UST?

3. For clarification: is the thesis of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, titled “To Everyone His Due: The Philippine Judiciary at the Forefront of Promoting Environment Justice” a written dissertation or is it a public lecture?

Thank you. My editor,Ms. Marites Vitug, and I would be at the UST for the interview on Oct. 6. Kindly update me if there are any changes in the schedule. Thanks!
      
Sincerely,

Purple S. Romero
researcher-writer
www.newsbreak.ph


On Oct 4, 2011, at 8:28 AM, Michaella Lagniton wrote:

Good morning!

Many thanks for the questions. As for the interview date, please wait for our advice whether it will be on October 6 or 7.

Thank you!

======


From: Purple Romero
To: Michaella Lagniton
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: Questionnaire Follow-Up

Good day. May ask what’s the final interview schedule? Thanks!

======


On Oct 5, 2011, at 3:54 PM, Michaella Lagniton wrote:

Good afternoon Ms. Purple,

Dr. Sison is not available on October 6 and 7 because of a previous commitment (Dean’s Council). But as per the UST Graduate School office, they have already given you materials re your topic just in case you won’t be able to interview Dr. Sison.

Thank you!

=====


From: Purple Romero
To: Michaella Lagniton
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 4:18 PM
Subject: Re: Questionnaire Follow-Up

We can interview Ms.Fontanilla though too, just to clarify? Also,what are the materials that they provided? Thanks.

=====


On Oct 5, 2011, at 5:14 PM, Michaella Lagniton wrote:

The best person to interview would be Dr. Sison that is why we have forwarded your request to her but because of her schedule she will not be able to accomodate your request. As for Prof. Fontanilla, she is also not available for interview.

For the material, as per the Graduate School office, they have given You the Advertatem.
      
Thank you.

=====

From: Purple Romero
To: Michaella Lagniton
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 5:17 PM
Subject: Re: Questionnaire Follow-Up

Would they provide answers to our questions though? We hope they could send us a written response. Thanks.

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2011/10/5 Michaella Lagniton

We’ll have to verify with the Graduate School first. Will e-mail you once I have an update. Thanks.

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From: purple romero
Date: 2011/10/24
Subject: Re: Questionnaire Follow-Up
To: Michaella Lagniton


Good day. May we have the interview anytime next week? If we can’t sched one, we will have to publish the story without the side of UST. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Purple S. Romero
www.newsbreak.ph  

=====

From: purple romero
Date: 2011/10/26
Subject: Fwd: Questionnaire Follow-Up
To: Michaella Lagniton


Dear Ms. Lagniton,

Good day. I would just like to confirm if you were able to get my email below, which I sent on Oct.24. We hope to get a response from your office as soon as possible. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Purple S. Romero
researcher-writer
www.newsbreak.ph

=====

DECEMBER 2011

From: purple romero
Date: 2011/12/2
Subject: request for interview – Newsbreak
To: odgs@mnl.ust.edu.ph


Dec. 2, 2011

PROF. LILIAN J.SISON (Phd)
Dean
University of Sto. Tomas Graduate School

Dear Sir:

Good day. We have previously requested for an interview with you to clarify some points about the dissertation of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. We have to reiterate the said request now, as we hope to interview you on or before Dec.12.

We aim to get the side of the university regarding alleged lapses in the the academic procedures and standards of the university. Here are our questions:

a. According to the UST website, “PhD, as a general rule, may be completed in 5 years. Maximum residency is 7 years. Students who overstayed beyond the maximum residency will be required to reactivate their coursework.”Chief Justice Renato Corona started his doctoral studies around 2000, and graduated in 2011; that’s more than 7 years. We would like to know how the university handles cases like this – would this be tantamount to overstaying? Are there penalties for this?
b. The average grade of a student in the UST graduate school is computed based on the following: 1/3 of the candidate’s academic performance; 1/3 of the grade for the dissertation as written prior to oral defense; and finally, 1/3 of the grades for the dissertation as orally defended. We would like to clarify something, and we need a categorical answer – did Corona submit a written dissertation or was his lecture already considered as his thesis?

Also, here are the questions we previously sent you:
 
a. What are the guidelines of the University of Sto. Tomas graduate school with regard to thesis development?
b. What forms of thesis are allowed for submission by the UST?

We look forward to your response. If we cannot schedule a personal interview, we hope you could provide us with a written response to our queries. Thank you.
 
Sincerely,

Purple S. Romero
researcher-writer
www.newsbreak.ph

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From: purple romero
Date: 2011/12/2
Subject: request of interview with Chief Justice Renato Corona
To: faderamj


Good day. We hope to interview Chief Justice Renato Corona on or before Dec.12. Please see our request below. Thank you.


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From: Michaella Lagniton
Date: 2011/12/3
Subject: Re: request for interview on or before Dec. 12 – Newsbreak
To: purple romero
Cc: giovanna fontanilla


Hello,

This is well noted. Will just first have to change the addressee to Rev. Fr. Florentino A. Bolo, Jr. O.P., UST Secretary General Thru Assoc. Prof. Giovanna Fontanila, Director, UST Office of Public Affairs.

Will get back to you once your request has been approved.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Micha

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From: Michaella Lagniton
Date: 2011/12/12
To: purple.romero
Cc: giovanna fontanilla

Good morning Purple,
 
Thank you for your e-mail last Dec. 2, 2012 regarding your requested interview with Dr. Carlos Garcia. We have actually forwarded your request to the UST Graduate School but as of the moment, they have not yet confirmed. Is it possible that your interview deadline be extended until tomorrow, 13 December 2011? The Graduate School has no office today (their office schedule is from Tuesdays to Saturdays). So we will again be follow-up with them again.
 
Hoping for your advice.
 
Many thanks!
 
Sincerely,
 
Micha
 
Michaella O. Lagniton
Media and Events Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS
Office of Public Affairs
Ground Floor, UST Main Building,
Espana, Manila

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From: purple romero
Date: 2011/12/12
To: Michaella Lagniton

Dear Ms. Lagniton,

Good day. I’ll inform my editor about this. Thanks and we hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Purple S. Romero
www.newsbreak.ph


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From: purple romero
Date: 2011/12/16
Subject: article to be published on Dec.19
To: Michaella Lagniton


Dear Ms. Lagniton,

Good day. We would just like to inform you that we will publish the story on allegations involving the dissertation of Chief Justice Renato Corona on Dec.19. We hope we could still get your response before the said date. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Purple S. Romero
researcher-writer
www.newsbreak.ph